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Steve – Hospice Neighbour

Steve Smith is one of around 150 individuals who volunteer their time to help and support others across our community as a St Nicholas Hospice Care Hospice Neighbour.

Steve explains: “It is a role I enjoy, a role I value and particularly, the two-way relationship between the person I am helping and myself. This connection is fundamental.

“We are invited into people’s lives, their homes and quite often their private thoughts, at a time when they are feeling very fragile both emotionally and physically, not really knowing what the future holds. It is a privilege to be there alongside them, doing what we can to make the present as normal as possible.

“Why do I do it? I dare say many of us; including myself when we first joined Hospice Neighbours, when asked why we wanted to do it probably replied, ‘we want to make a difference.’ An often used cliché, but it does neatly sum up the innate need in most of us to want to help others.

“That’s what inspired me; not that I needed to find something to do after retiring, that’s never been a problem. But after a working life mostly running my own business, which often meant meeting and engaging with people from different backgrounds, I still wanted to continue in that vein.

“What I find refreshing is the hands off approach, where we are trusted to visit our people, build a relationship and use our common sense and initiative to help in whatever way we think fit within the Hospice guidelines.

“It’s not just companionship or just having a chat. A few of my colleagues do where possible take the patient out for a couple of hours, just to give them a change of scenery and some fresh air.

“But you also realise, you are there for the relatives and carers as well. They obviously need a break and a change of scenery and use the opportunity of our visits to go out for the afternoon, visit friends or just do something different from their normal routine.

“That is what being a Hospice Neighbour is all about. Being there, holding their hand when needed, guiding them if required as to what services the Hospice can offer and staying the course. You develop friendships and relationships, but it works both ways. You hope that your visits have achieved something and you have given something of yourself to make that person’s life as comfortable as possible. All human life is here to be valued and cherished.”